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The Animal Welfare Act 2006

Comment 5th July 2010

This heinous and ill-conceived Act ought to repealed in its entirety. Not only does it do little or nothing to improve animal welfare, it is actually leaves the animals and their owners far worse off in many cases. The numbers of tragic cases of victimisation and abuse is enormous. It is generally administered by mere 'functionaries' who show little compassion for either the animals or their owners.

Its modus operandi also amounts to a very serious attack on our civil liberties.

Why does this matter?

Just a few of its more spectacular flaws and anomalies of the AWA 2006 are:

  • It does nothing at all for animal welfare in most cases. Like so much of New Labour's legislation, it has put enormous power into the hands of buffoons and ‘jobsworths’ with little education, qualification or initiative, such as RSPCA and Council inspectors, who often aren’t animal lovers themselves and frequently know little about (and have no compassion for) animals – and who then simply use it as a vehicle with which to fund their gravy trains, whilst causing untold misery to both pets and their owners by needlessly victimising them.
  • Bodies like the RSPCA are invariably not interested in helping pet-owners with any problems they may have; neither do they “do” cautions for any first offences, etc. They are completely single-minded in pursuing a path to prosecution for the owner, wherever they possibly can. (It amounts to cheap publicity for them!) They also have a very sophisticated, well-financed and finely-honed propaganda machine which is almost impossible to counter by the individual. In practice, the police, the Media, the veterinary profession and the Law Courts are generally beholden unto the RSPCA in all animal matters. The poor animal lover stands very little chance of justice or fair play in any dispute.
  • The AWA 2006 is the ultimate example of ‘political correctness’ in that it allows RSPCA inspectors and the like to decide for themselves exactly what animals think and feel and they then act accordingly, without reference to the owner. They are treated as the sole arbiters under the Act and can behave with almost total impunity. This Act presupposes that almost all pet-lovers are likely to be cruel to their pets, so it assumes that the latter need to be routinely rescued by outside interferers – whilst the animals' owners have few chances of redress.
  • The Act is designed so that any Animal Welfare Inspector (i.e. appointed by a Council) or RSPCA Inspector can gate-crash or even break into (using a battering ram) a domestic home, with the assistance of the police, and seize a householder’s pets – even when he’s not at home. (In fact, there's not even a need for such an Inspector to be legally on the premises to seize a pet.) The pets can then be kept in custody for months on end (and even for a year, or more) whilst any prosecution is pending. In the meantime, the RSPCA can make an application under Section 20 of the Act to adopt the animals permanently, even before the owner has been found guilty of any offence. In other words, even if he is later pronounced innocent of any offence, the owner can still have lost his pets!! And, even when he's lost his pets, he can still be presented with a massive bill for thousands of pounds of kennelling fees! (This means valuable funding for the RSPCA's coffers!)
  • The Courts (and the Media) appear to be generally 'mesmerised' by any uniformed official in all of this; indeed the BBC won’t hear a word against the RSPCA and it continually transmits heavily sanitized propaganda programmes in their support. The tragic reality surrounding many of their activities always remains carefully concealed. In the end, the Courts even rely on the RSPCA for advice in their prosecutions and adjudicators then tend to find against the hapless pet-owner as a matter of course in at least 9 cases out of 10, whilst frequently ignoring the few legal principles and safeguards which are supposed to be adhered to for his protection.
  • The amount of Court time and all the attendant costs involved in such petty issues must be quite astronomical. Society ought rather to be spending its time and resources very much more creatively – on addressing really serious crime and much more productive issues instead.
  • Some months ago, David Cameron indicated that an Englishman's home should become "his castle" in the country, once again. The repeal of the AWA 2006 would go a long way towards helping to achieve this goal and restoring the dignity and privacy of genuine pet-lovers.
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